Pakistan, UN-HABITAT host workshop on Gender in Water and Sanitation

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Islamabad, 15 Dec 09 - The workshop was part of a series of workshops conducted under "Watsan Improvement in Informal Settings through Gender Mainstreaming and Capacity Building of Local Authorities", a project being implemented by UN-HABITAT Pakistan, in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment, other UN agencies and local NGO partners under the umbrella of One UN Joint Programme on Environment.

Mr. Kamran Qureshi, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Environment said "the workshop will help to explore synergies in the implementation of two Millennium Development Goals for Gender Equality and Goal for Environmental Sustainability".

He further added that the workshop would seek to establish a gender-sensitive institutional framework for upgrading water supply, sanitation and hygiene infrastructure in urban settlements across the country.

While stressing on the need for gender mainstreaming in water supply and sanitation services delivery, Siamak Moghaddam, Country Programme Manager, UN-HABITAT said, "Women suffer the most from poor water supply and sanitation as they are often burdened with the task of fetching water and are generally responsible for maintaining household hygiene and the health of children. Additionally, women and young girls suffer indignity as a result of inadequate sanitation.

"They not only face numerous security risks associated with the poor location of sanitation facilities, many girls in their puberty drop out of school for lack of adequate sanitation facilities. The goal of gender equality is central to the mission and mandate of UN-HABITAT: To promote sustainable and inclusive cities and shelter for all."

Sessions for the workshop were contributed by UN-HABITAT, UNIFEM, UNICEF, World Bank, Concern Worldwide, Plan International Pakistan, WaterAid, Pakistan Institute for Environment-Development Action Research, Ministry of Environment, Government of Sindh and Balochistan.

Over 100 workshop participants included representatives from federal/provincial governments, civil society organizations, non-governmental organizations and water service providers working in the country, including Azad Jammu and Kashmir region.